If you’ve logged into Facebook or Twitter today, chances are you’ve seen it: a pink equal sign over a red background. The image has taken social media by storm today thanks to the Human Rights Campaign, which is promoting the symbol to mobilize supporters for marriage equality. Today marks the first day the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments over the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense Against Marriage Act.
Over the past seven hours, the red equal sign has received nearly 45,000 likes and more than 13,000 shares on the Human Rights Campaign’s Facebook page. And the virality doesn’t stop there – Mashable noted that actor George Takei has received more than 63,000 likes and 31,000 shares sincehe posted a photo of the red equal sign five hours ago, and several other celebrities have tweeted in support of the movement as well.
Several hashtags surrounding the Supreme Court’s hearings have remained in Twitter’s trends today as well, including #SCOTUS, #Prop8, #MarriageEquality, #UnitedforMarriage and a range of others.
However, the sudden virality of the Human Rights Campaign’s equal symbol shouldn’t come as a surprise. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released last week, 81% of 18-29 year olds support marriage equality. Similarly, Pew reports that 83% of 18-29 year olds use social networking – and 66% of social media users have used the platforms to comment about political candidates and issues. Of course, this isn’t the first time political issues have infiltrated social media; just last year, hundreds of websites went dark to fight SOPA and thousands changed their profile pictures in protest of the law.
Whether or not you changed your profile picture today, everyone can agree on this: the Internet has solidified its place as a platform for activism.